vendredi 23 mars 2012

NDP Leadership : a Twitter-view

There was something magical that happened to Thomas Mulcair’s Twitter and endorsement campaign at the start of March. When I started following the candidates in late January he was fourth among Tweets and Followers and was lagging behind. Within a few weeks, he was catching up to Nathan Cullen and might pass him before the weekend is up with the party’s top job at stake.

For their parts, strong starters Brian Topp and Paul Dewar were already high up in numbers by late January and weren’t able to add much to their totals adding 35% and 13% of followers in the next two months or so. But Mulcair was impressive here, as he now as more than 4458 followers, up 72% which is 16% more than the next place Cullen.

Cullen tweets a lot. Not as much as his colleague Françoise Boivin, but with about 1600 tweets to his record, he’s only a little ways back of the leader in this category Paul Dewar. Compare that to Martin Singh’s 67 or Mulcair’s 195 and the distance is impressive.

With that miniscule number in mind for Mulcair, it is clearly elsewhere that he has found support. Hundreds of people click his name each week to see what he says, even though he doesn’t say much. And he has been keeping endorsements for more recent times as well. My numbers give half credit for Twitter activity and half for endorsement points as counted by Éric Grenier of

The two ladies in the campaign have fared well online, but not exceptionally. Niki Ashton has used both an English and French account for the run, but lately has been Tweeting in French on the English account, focusing on the more popular one which I have counted here. Ms. Nash outranks Topp but seems to have been losing steam as of late.

At the very least, the candidates have been able to attract a following which will be useful for their long-awaited return to the House of Commons. For those hopefuls who are MPs, their long absence means that they will have to remember where their seat is – and only one will be switching spots with Mme Turmel who has seen her own Twitter following grow into something in the middle of the pack of this group.

While these numbers might not be able to predict the outcome, they do show some general trends in interest and in a convention setting, the person who is hot right now might get the extra votes. In that case, expect a lot of attention towards Thomas Mulcair but don’t give up on Topp or Cullen, one of them might end up as a kingmaker, or even a king.

(P.S. I'm working at improving my graphs!)

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